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Antwerp-based Gallery FIFTY ONE specializes in fine art photography and works on paper. Since its founding in 2000, the gallery has been focusing on 20th- and 21st- Century photography (vintage, classic, fashion, African and contemporary). In 2011, the gallery started an ongoing dialogue between photography and works on paper.

In 2014 a new gallery space opened its doors: FIFTY ONE TOO.

In 2018, the gallery launched ’28 Vignon Street’; a new online art platform that responds to the online evolution on the art market.

Zirkstraat 20,
2000 Antwerp, Belgium

Tuesday – Saturday, 1 – 6 pm
T +32(0)3 289 84 58



Jacques Sonck (°1949, BE) studied photography at Narafi, Brussels and worked as a photographer at the Cultural Department of the Province of Antwerp until his retirement in 2009. For his personal work, he has been focussing exclusively on analogue black-and- white portrait photography since the mid-1970s. Sonck has an eye for the extraordinary; across all ages, genders and races, he is attracted by individuals who stand out from the crowd, either by an anomaly in their appearance or by their extravert attitude or clothing- style. Notwithstanding the, by times, confrontational nature of his portraits, Sonck is never guilty of voyeurism or ridicule as he approaches his subjects unbiased and with respect. Seen together, his comic, tragic, melancholic and joyous portraits form an in-depth study of the human condition. Sonck’s oeuvre reads like an eccentric cross-section of Flemish society from the 1970s onwards. It is a catalogue of all the different types of people that are part of a community, linking his images to the work of other portrait photographers like August Sander, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus – the latter with whom he shares a fascination for people on the margins of society.


Jacques Sonck, Untitled, Antwerp, 1981, gelatin silver print, 30 x 20 cm, edition of 15

Jacques Sonck comes across his exceptional models on the streets of Belgian cities and photographs them on the spot, often in front of a neutral background (to exclude as much contextual reference as possible). These are quick, anonymous encounters, in which not many personal details are shared. The clothing and the background may give away the time in which the photo was taken, as in this portrait of two amorous cowboys, taken during the Antwerp Gay Pride of 1981. Sonck likes the contrast between their tough- looking outfits and the tenderness of their gestures. But otherwise, he prefers not to reveal any more background information and leaves the story behind it to the imagination of the viewer. In his words, “if you have to explain what it means, it’s not a good photograph.”


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